The FTC has been investigating Twitter over the use of personal data for ad targeting since October last year, the social network itself revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the document, the Commission is looking into Twitter’s “use of phone number and/or email address data provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019.” The company could pay a fine between $150 million and $250 million after the investigation is done.
In a blog post from 2019, Twitter disclosed that it may have “inadvertently” matched users’ phone numbers and email ads provided for two-factor and identity verification with marketing lists advertisers had uploaded. “This was an error and we apologize,” the company wrote, admitting that it didn’t know how many people were affected. “As of September 17, we have addressed the issue that allowed this to occur and are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising,” it added.